A determined Charlton beat Blackburn 1-0 at The Valley this afternoon to keep their bid for a play off place on track. Plymouth play at Scunthorpe on Tuesday and are then away to Gillingham on Saturday. If they lose at Scunthorpe, a draw at Rochdale would be enough (even a defeat might see Charlton advance on goal difference).
This was a passionate and committed performance from Bowyer's boys in which everyone put in a shift. This was my first visit to The Valley since my illness and Bowyer (and Johnnie Jackson) have them playing to a far higher standard than was achieved under 'Gobby'.
The visitors took their time to get going and Charlton went ahead in the first half through Jason Pearce. The Addicks were in charge up to the break with Mark Marshall contributing some good defensive work and some other neat moves. After the break Blackburn stepped up a gear and Charlton were under the cosh at times, but they held up under the pressure even in seven minutes added on. This was largely due to an injury to the unfortunate Lewis Page who had to be stretchered off.
Blackburn were rather physical, often resorting to a trip to halt an advancing player, but the referee stood for no nonsense, appropriately awarding free kicks and a number of yellow cards.
Charlie Mulgrew placed a 12th-minute free-kick well wide of the target, but it was the Addicks who got their noses in front seven minutes later. Ahmed Kashi drilled in a shot from just outside the area which took a huge deflection off Pearce on its way past Rovers goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler for what proved to be the only goal of the game.
Ben Amos had to be alert at the other end to tip behind Mulgrew's corner which appeared to be heading into the net.
Richie Smallwood burst through just after the break and was denied by Amos before Mark Marshall scrambled the danger clear, with Mulgrew heading agonisingly wide from the resulting corner.
Amos was called into action again twice in the space of a minute to keep out Jack Payne on both occasions as Blackburn continued their bright start to the second half. Amos was named man of the match by the Football League Paper. One of the challenges in the summer will be to replace him.Pearce made a crucial block from substitute Danny Graham's shot and - from the corner which followed - Dominic Samuel saw his 78th-minute header cannon back off the crossbar.
Amos was a busy man and made another fine stop from Samuel, pushing away his 82nd-minute shot.
But despite Rovers' dominance, it was Charlton who almost grabbed a second when a counter attack ended with Leutwiler producing a super save from Jake Forster-Caskey's goal-bound strike.
After the game, there was a parade of players and Johnnie Jackson addressed the crowd, thanking the many managers who has served under, but making a special mention of Sir Chris Powell.
A thought for the 85 year old fan who attended his last game at The Valley today. He can no longer manage the journey from Peterborough. If I manage the journey from Leamington until I am 85, I will be doing well. He first saw Charlton play in the 1944 wartime cup final (which we won).
The train back from Marylebone was full of rowdy Blews after their defeat at QPR, but the British Transport Police were on the train.
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